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This product for pregnant and lactating women has vitamins, minerals and the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA to help provide adequate supply of nutrients essential during pregnancy and lactation: Folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12: Folic acid is necessary for the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs). NTDs are malformations of the baby's brain and/or spinal cord which can be prevented by adequate folic acid intake particularly during the very early stages of pregnancy.
Folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 are required in the metabolism of homocysteine to prevent its accumulation in the blood. Elevated blood homocysteine or hyperhomocysceinemia is associated with common pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as prematurity and very low birth weight. Hyperhomocysteinemia is also identified as a risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.
Iron and Iodine: Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is one of the most prevalent nutritional problems in the world. Pregnant women are at particularly high risk of iron deficiency because of increased iron needs necessary to replace normal losses, to facilitate growth of the baby in the womb, to cope with the demands of pregnancy, and to replace unusual losses, such as heavy bleeding during delivery. Iron is also required for the proper development of the baby's spinal cord and the white matter of the brain.
Iodine deficiency before and during pregnancy can result in cretinism in infants. There is also evidence that maternal iodine deficiencies that are not severe enough to cause cretinism can cause impaired motor and brain function in children.
Iron, together with iodine, help in the proper mental development and cognition of babies. Iron and Iodine deficiencies are the most common nutritional deficiencies which contribute to preventable brain dysfunction and mental retardation.
B-Complex Vitamins (Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, and Biotin): To help optimize conversion of food into energy that the body can utilize for numerous physiologic processes such as respiration, digestion, blood circulation, and immune system response. B-Complex vitamins are also required for the normal function of the nervous system.
Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Manganese, and Copper: To help maintain strong bones and teeth and protect against osteoporosis later in life. Calcium builds the baby's teeth and bones which begin in the first trimester of pregnancy and continues through term. Vitamin D increases calcium absorption in the intestine. Magnesium is essential for enzymes needed to incorporate calcium in bones. Manganese acts as a cofactor of various enzymes required for the normal development of the bones. Copper is essential for bone formation and mineralization.
Vitamins A, C, E, and Zinc: To trap harmful free radicals through their protective antioxidant effects and help boost immune function.
Antioxidants act as scavengers to detoxify free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable chemicals formed in the body during normal physiological and biochemical processes such as respiration, metabolism and immune system response.
Vitamin A is essential in maintaining healthy skin and mucous cells. The skin, being the outermost layer of the body, acts as a protective barrier against infection-causing microorganisms. Vitamin A helps boost immune function by regulating the body's humoral immune response (release of antibodies into the blood) and cellular immune response (direct killing of harmful microorganisms). Vitamin C, a major water-soluble antioxidant, acts as the first defense against free radicals found in the aqueous (water) phase of cells. Vitamin C forms part of the body's natural immune system and stimulates the activity of specialized white blood cells which inhibit harmful bacteria and viruses. Vitamin E on the other hand, a fat-soluble vitamin, is the first defense against free radicals in the lipid (fat) phase of cells. Vitamin E helps protect fatty acids which are structural components of cell membranes and are particularly susceptible to free radical attack Vitamin E also modulates the synthesis of prostaglandins important for the body's immune response. Zinc, together with vitamin C, is known to improve cell-mediated immunity and to promote tissue repair and wound healing. Zinc functions indirectly as an antioxidant through superoxide dismutases which are enzymes that speed the protective antioxidant reactions.
Vitamin A plays a crucial role in vision as part of the compound rhodopsin in the rod cells of the retina. When vitamin A is inadequate. the lack of rhodopsin makes it difficult to see in dim light.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, also known as omega-3 fatty acids, are lipids found in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna. EPA and DHA, the two most studied omega-3 fatty acids, are nutrients essential for both the mother and the baby during pregnancy and lactation.
Proper maternal nutrition is crucial for the baby's health (in the womb and outside the womb for breastfed infants). Adequate intake of EPA and DHA is important to support the baby's rapid brain and eye development particularly during the third trimester of pregnancy. EPA and DHA supplementation during pregnancy has been associated with a decreased risk of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, preterm birth delivery and low birth weight.
Brain growth and development is very rapid during infancy and early childhood. Supplementation of lactating women with DHA, the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in human milk, may help increase the milk DHA content which is beneficial for the breastfed baby. Adequate DHA in breast milk has been associated with improved cognitive function, visual acuity, and psychomotor development in infants and young children who are breastfed.
EPA and DHA also promote cardiovascular health. These omega-3 fatty acid may help reduce triglycerides in the blood by preventing fat formation and stimulating breakdown of fat into energy in the liver. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.